It all begins with Sacred Heart. Woodlands Academy’s identity is rooted in Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat’s desire to inspire young hearts and minds to excel, to lead lives of integrity, and to serve. 


Thank you for your interest in Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart! We hope you will enjoy getting to know more about us, both here on our website and by visiting us on our Lake Forest campus.

Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart was founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1858 when Margaret Galway, RSCJ and three other Religious of the Sacred Heart arrived in Chicago to open a new Sacred Heart school and mission.  Woodlands Academy is an independent, Catholic, college preparatory day and boarding school for young women. Woodlands Academy is a member of the international Network of Sacred Heart Schools, which spans 41 countries and 22 schools in the U.S. and two in Canada. As a Network school, Woodlands Academy is committed to the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart Schools as it shares in the mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart.

A Woodlands Academy education is serious in its studies, strong in its principles, and rich in the spirit of love and life. As a Sacred Heart school with a long tradition of excellence, Woodlands prepares motivated young women for lives of courage and confidence, educating them to discover their purpose, cultivate their talents and passions, and commit themselves to service as citizens of the world.

Standards are high, academics are challenging, and Woodlands’ teachers are talented and inspiring. Our faculty are Sacred Heart educators who steadfastly and wisely care for their students. Woodlands’ curriculum includes Advanced Placement and honors courses, an exceptional fine arts program, year-round service opportunities, competitive athletics and club crew, and English as a Second Language.

Rooted in the Sacred Heart tradition, Woodlands Academy is a Catholic school that respects and seeks diversity in all its varieties: cultural, racial, religious, and socio-economic. Our community represents many races, religions, and nationalities, and our academic and extracurricular programs promote global awareness and social responsibility.

Woodlands Academy participates in an educational exchange program with other Sacred Heart schools. Our students have the unique opportunity to attend affiliated schools in the United States, Canada, Austria, and other countries where Sacred Heart schools are located.

Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart is fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Independent Schools Association of the Central States. Woodlands is certified by the State of Illinois and approved by the Network of Sacred Heart Schools. The school is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools and the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools.

Spotlight News

  • Annual Flag Ceremony Celebrates Woodlands Academy’s Rich Diversity

    “One of the blessings that we have at Woodlands Academy is the richness of our cultural diversity,” Global Education Director Amy Perlick said at the beginning of the Mass. “This is one of the many forms of diversity which Sacred Heart schools seek and cherish. For as our knowledge and experience of new cultures and peoples expand and deepen, we come to more fully understand ourselves, our world and our global interconnectedness.”

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  • Let Their Light Shine-Opening Candlelight Service

    The start of the 2016-17 school year at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart Wednesday, Aug. 24, combined the fun of “Seniors Rule Day” celebrations with a traditional candlelight service blessing its newest students.

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  • Beth Ann Fennelly, '89 named Poet Laureate of Mississippi

    On August 10, 2016, Govenor Phillip Bryant named noted poet and University of Mississippi professor Beth Ann Fennelly, '89 as Mississippi's Poet Laureate. Beth Ann will spend the next four years as the official state poet while working to make poetry more accessible to Mississippians. Beth Ann has been the Director of the UM Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program where she teaches poetry and nonfiction writing at Ole Miss.

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